Friday, July 08, 2005

ReadThis Video

For a minute, I wondered if there was a way if I could turn those blasted captions off. I guess you could say the bread was in the slots, but the Toaster wasn't plugged in.

We've all learned from Jakob that web designers should think about usability before they think about nifty tricks and glitzy design. It takes watching these three interviews with students for whom navigating a website can be more than a challenge to really drive his point home.

Technology is intended to make lives easier. Tools like the Internet have the potential to bring ease to the lives of people with disabilities. While your website certainly doesn't need to embody the austerity that Jakob's usability bible has chosen, it needs to be designed in a way that shows you do things "on purpose."

There's a middle ground between Mr. Nielsen's world of white space and large-sized Verdana and that new supercool indie band's Flash-heavy homepage with the cartoon intro that leads to a bunch of un-navigable pages of graphic links. Some things I've learned:

1) Slick videos are great: Give them captions.
B) Innnovative design with neato links looks cool. Make sure your screen can be read by a screen-reader program.
4) Oh, and don't ever design a page that can't be navigated with a keyboard. (I know enough about mice problems to sympathize deeply with this one.)
ix) Don't use text that is indecipherable from the background of your page.
AND) Don't use fixed-size tiny fonts. (On another personal note: my father is hard of seeing, and he will beat you up if you do it.)

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